First name

Text source

Robert Clerck is listed amongst the burgesses in Gothenburg for 1670. He appears to have traded largely with Scotland and to have been part of the particularly Scottish community in Gothenburg at this time. Clerck first appeared on the Gothenburg shipping registers in 1663 when he freighted goods to Amsterdam. In 1668 he exported bar iron to Dundee on the same ship as Daniel Crocket [SSNE 6930], and he also sent goods to London. In 1671 he exported wood products to Leith, Hull, London, and Stralsund; and the following year he traded with Amsterdam, Hull, Leith, London, and Portugal. In 1674 he sent goods solely to London, whilst the next year he again exported iron to Montrose, Leith and Crail, as well as Lubeck and London. In 1676 he sent goods to Leith, Dundee and Newcastle, whilst in 1677 he exported to Glasgow, Dartmouth, Leith and Newcastle. Finally in 1678 he sent wares to Irvine, Liverpool, leith, Bo'ness, Montrose, Kirkcaldy and Dundee and London (via the Marscoe-David Company). In writing to this Company in Jnauary 1678, Clerck noted that he had some 8000 silver dollars 'to my clear', and that 1 and a half siver dollars equalled one Rixdaler. He asked David to send him goods, half on the Company's account and half on his. In March of the same year Robert Clerk sent a letter by a bearer called Petter de Flon (brother of Mr Johan Aldercron) to David in London noting that he had an arrangement with a gent in Sweden for 4000-5000 slb iron of a fine middling sort which he would like to send to David. He also said he had sent much of such iron to London and Edinburgh. He asked that David sent specie so that he could get the iron for a better price, though the editor of the Marscoe-David letters believes this transaction did not come off. 


Although we do not know his wife's name it appears that her sister was Elisabeth Maul, who died on 14 July 1676, aged 13. Clerck's wife lived from 1651 until 8 June 1677, when she died at the age of 26 after giving birth to her 2nd and last son Patrick. Clerck's wife was buried on 17 June 1677 at Christina church in Gothenburg. The other Clerck children were Robert [SSNE 6245], an Elisabeth who lived from 1672-1674, and Elisabeth [SSNE 6246]. There was also an Ingrid Clerck in Gothenburg at this time, who may have been a sister of Robert. This is probably the same Robert Clerck who on 1 May 1674 was noted amongst the godparents present at Albrecht Weddinghusens's daughter Elisabeth's baptism in Christina church at Gothenburg. Members of the Spalding, Maclean, Hamilton, Watson and Crocket family attended the various baptisms of Robert's children, indicating he was a full member of the Gothenburg community. In October 1675, a Scottish merchant in Hamburg, John Spreull [SSNE 7186] wrote to Andrew Russell [SSNE 143] in Rotterdam noting that he had forwarded letters to "Mr Clark a Scotsman in Gothenburg" which was probably this man. A linguistic analysis of his letters also confirm Clerck as a Scot rather than the Englishman he is often said to be by historians. He died in 1680 and was buried in Storkyrkan in Stockholm on 15 July. He was noted as a Calvinist. 


Sources: National Archives of Scotland, Russell Papers, RH15/106/199/5. John Spreull to Andrew Russell, 29 November 1675; Göteborg Landsarkivet, Drätselkammare; E. Långström, Göteborgs Stads Borgarelängd 1621-1864, (Göteborg, 1926), p.38; W. Berg, Samlingar till Göteborgs historia, Christina Kyrkas böcker,(Göteborg, 1890), vol.1, pp. 105, 114, 118, 122, 124, 128, 143 and 480, 484; W. Berg, Genealogiska anteckningar om Göteborgs släkter, ser.1, vol.2, p.62. James Porteous was a Scottish merchant who worked in Stockholm and became a burgess of the town in 1637. Letters dated in Stockholm from the 1650s survive relating to Jacob Porteous and Hans Primrose [SSNE 814] are signed by Peter Chambers [SSNE 4929] and Robert Erskine and appear to relate to some problem with councillor Michael Abrahamson. Perhaps this indicates Scots sticking up for fellow Scots. A further letter from 30 April 1656 describes James Porteous as a burgess and merchant in Stockholm. He appears to have been in Gothenburg in 1658. However he appeared to be engaged in a legal case with James Mesterton [SSNE 6696]over a sum of money which Porteous claimed he had already paid Mesterton. From the biography of his son, Johan Porteous [SSNE 4925] in Kleberg's 'Kammarkollegium' we know that James married Elisabet Baltazarsdotter Vernle. He possibly had two other sons, Thomas and Jakob. It was probably this man who served as a director for the Tar Company in Stockholm in 1669. 

 See Swedish Riksarkiv, Biographica Microcard, E01711 7/8, letters 30/04/1656, 20/05/1656, 23/12/165?, 14/05/1658; Swedish Riksarkiv, Oxenstiernasamlingen 28:3, undated letter; Swedish Riksarkiv, Stegborgsamlingen: Skrivelser till Johan Casimir och hans gamaal, May 1639; Swedish Riksarkiv, Förteckning över Momma-Reenstierna Samlingen, part C: brev till Bröderna Momma-Reenstierna ingångna skrivelser, section 2, brev till Jacob Momma-Reenstierna - E2518, 50, P, 1650; J. Kileberg 'Svenska Ambetsverk, del VI:I Kammarkollegium 1634-1718 (Norrkoping, 1957), p.70; T. Fischer, The Scots in Sweden (Edinburgh, 1907),p.216; Svenska Riksradets Protokoll, vol.XVIII, pp.104-6; H. Roseveare, (ed.), Markets and Merchants of the Late Seventeenth Century: The Marscoe-David Letters, 1668-1680 (Oxford, 1987), p.158 (editorial) and pp.480 and 498-499. Clerck to David, 26 July 1677, 3 January and 5 March 1678; C. Dalhede, Handelsfamiljer på Stormaktstidens Europamarknad (3 vols., Partille, 2001)III, cd rom; Steve Murdoch, Network North: Scottish Kin, Commercial and Covert Associations in Northern Europe, 1603-1746 (Brill, Leiden, 2006), pP.183,238; Curt Haij, 'Skottar i Stockholm under 1600-talet', unpublished list of names, Hintze biblioteket, Genealogiska Föreningen, Sundbyberg, Stockholm. Thanks to Ardis Dreisbach for this information.

Service record

Arrived 1668-12-18
Departed 1679-12-31